I confess I don't understand any single part of this affair.
First of all, the media have scrupulously avoided covering the actual basis of the story--the reliability of reports that Iraq was seeking uranium ore from Niger. European intelligence agencies stand behind these claims, while factions within the CIA have disputed it. The media have been determinedly disinterested in the internal conflict within the CIA over this and other pre-war intelligence issues, focusing only on the post-facto situation which presumes absence of current evidence somehow answers questions about the situation before the war. The only thing clear from the resulting imbroglio is that there was a considerable clique within the CIA prepared to operate independently of political control in order to pressure the Bush administration to its desired policy positions, but this is the one story out of all of this to receive essentially no coverage from any media outlet.
Second of all, the operative status of Valerie Plame within the CIA at the time of Mr. Wilson's mint-tea-drinking lost weekend in Niger has been of startling little interest to anyone covering the story. Since the howls of outrage from the leftist fringes and certain offices at Langley (strange bedfellows indeed, superficially) which shook the mountains and laboured mightily to spark the investigation which has now birthed the mouse of Scooter Libby's conviction presumed Plame's covert status as a necessary precursor to any investigation of a potential crime, it is passing strange that no one has been able to unearth Ms. Plame's actual status at the time in question.
Finally, it seems quite clear that Libby did in fact lie under oath, but I have yet to read an account of this case which gives a credible accounting for his motive given the inability of any of the existing accounts to explore the uncertain facts above. Some argue that his perjury was designed to shield Cheney from sort of political embarrassment, but I don't see how such a clumsy lie as that of which Libby has been convicted could be expected to shield anyone from anything for any length of time. Given the astonishingly lame defence offered by Libby's lawyers, it is difficult to see why Libby bothered to waste the money on a defence, when a nolo contedere defence would have certainly delivered no worse outcome than his actual "the dog ate my memory" defence.
Almost nothing anyone involved in this whole affair has done had made objective sense to an external observer, which tells me that the actual operation of the government and its alleged overseers in the media no longer is fully accountable to the anonymous citizen they both allegedly serve. The clear disjuncture between the stated aims and objectives and the actual behaviour of every single party within this controversy has made a mockery of their claims to be public servants.
No doubt they each content themselves with the consoling thought that each serves as a guardian or trustee of the public good, revealing to the public itself only those details he believes will conduce to the greatest good overall, but the notion that the American public actually deliberates on matters of policy, rather than being led to consensus by collaborative manipulation by self-interested minorities has been dealt a serious blow.